Airport Commission Identifies Major Priorities

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By: James Kinsella
Published: 06/29/12

With the new passenger terminal and air traffic control tower complete at the Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis, the town airport commission has started discussing long-range plans to improve the airport’s operations.

The Barnstable Municipal Airport Commission met June 21 in an off-site session at the Steamship Authority terminal in Hyannis to discuss major priorities.

“I think we got a lot done,” airport commission chairman Ronald Persuitte said following the session. “We’re on our way to manage the airport the way it should be managed.”

In order of importance, the commission listed increasing revenue; completing the development agreement with the Cape Cod Commission; improving marketing of the airport; devoting more attention to land development and management; monitoring proposed changes in Hyannis roadways near the airport; and generating more community support for the airport.

One way the commission hopes to increase revenue is by increasing jet fuel sales.

On Sunday, a new sliding-scale discount program will go into effect with the intent of encouraging sales.Mr. Persuitte said the commission also wants to encourage at the airport more general aviation—that is, use by small private airplanes.

Doing so, the chairman said, could increase demand for regular aviation fuel at the airport.

Another initiative, he said, would be to move forward on the development of the former site of Mildred’s restaurant on Route 28.

Mr. Persuitte said the commission has held off on developing the parcel in response to town concerns about traffic on Route 28, but would now like to tap the parcel as a source of revenue.

He said the airport would lease rather than sell the property.

He said the commission also plans to examine what, if anything, can be done about the long-term lease of the Capetown Plaza shopping plaza, which is on airport land in Hyannis.

The current lease, which yields the airport about $60,000 a year, is in effect until 2024.

The airport commission would like to realize a larger financial yield from the property.

In additional discussion at the meeting:

— Airport manager Roland W. “Bud” Breault Jr. called for completion by this fall of the airport’s development agreement with the Cape Cod Commission. “We want to be good environmental partners,” Mr. Breault said.

— Mr. Breault suggested the development of an aviation industrial park on airport land in the Yarmouth Road/Willow Street area.

— Commissioners questioned how much more growth could be realized in the Hyannis-Nantucket market, which also faces competition from fast ferry boats plying the same route.

A possible source of new growth could be realized by encouraging direct flights to and from more distant destinations by large airlines such as Southwest and Delta, the commissioners said.

— Mr. Breault said the airport already is planning to consolidate fuel storage facilities at the airport, and to eliminate underground fuel storage.

— Commissioners said they see a proposed installation of solar energy panels along airport runways as a way to increase annual revenue to the airport.

— Commissioner Mary Smith called for more outreach to citizens, interest groups and chambers of commerce to develop community support for airport goals.

— Commissioners asked Mr. Breault to monitor state proposals to modify Yarmouth Road, Route 28, Route 132 and the Airport Rotary with an eye toward their potential effect on the airport.

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